The right pair of shoes can be the best friend your feet ever had, cushioning your steps, supporting your arches, and enabling you to live life to the fullest. However, the wrong pair of shoes can be your worst enemy.
Many people spend most of their time walking on hard and flat surfaces that do not offer any softness or flexibility. This can be highly demanding on our feet, proving why proper cushioning and arch support is vital if we want to avoid foot problems.
Why do our shoes often fail us?
There are lots of reasons why a particular shoe might be causing your heel pain. Here are some of the most common:
- The shoes don’t fit – It is not uncommon for people to wear shoes that just aren’t the right size and shape for their feet. Shoes that are too big or small and too wide or narrow can all be potentially problematic. In any dimension, the wrong fit can pinch, rub painfully, fail to provide adequate support, or even change your gait patterns. Sadly, the most frequent sufferers are those with especially wide or narrow feet; this also makes it more difficult to find shoes that fit efficiently.
- You’re spending a lot of time walking around in shoes that aren’t meant for that purpose – High heels, ballet flats and flip flops all have their uses but should be used in moderation if heel pain is to be evaded. Shoes and sandals with poor cushioning and little to no support should not be used for day to day activities.
- You’re wearing the wrong type of shoes – If you play a particular sport, for instance running, basketball or tennis, you should wear the correct pair of shoes to fit that sport.
- Your shoes are worn out – As much as we hate to admit it, our favourite pairs of shoes do have a lifespan. Over time, treads wear down, reducing grip, and the midsoles flatten and lose their ‘spring’, leading to less shock absorption for your feet. If you begin to notice frequent foot pain when wearing your regular pair of shoes, it may be time to say your farewells.
How to find the right pair of shoes.
So, how do we go about finding the correct pair of shoes?
These tips will get you on your way to foot comfort!
- Never purchase shoes online – It is important not to underestimate the value of testing shoes in person; online shopping may be convenient. However, the chances of the shoes fitting correctly are very slim.
- Shop later in the day or after intense activity – The logic here is that your feet are bound to be slightly swollen by this point. Therefore, it is vital to make sure your shoes still fit when your feet are as large as they can get.
- Always measure your feet – As well as slight variations in size throughout the day, feet also tend to flatten, widen and lengthen more permanently over time.
Whilst keeping the length of your new shoes in mind, be careful not to neglect the width as this is just as important!
- The fit around the heel should be snug – When walking around, your shoes should not slip about; trust your sense of what feels comfortable.
In addition, you must ensure there is plenty of wiggle room in the toe box; when pressing down on the area between the front of the shoe and the longest toe, you should feel around half an inch of space.
- Don’t try and convince yourself that all your shoes need are breaking in – You should never rely on breaking your shoes in to make them feel comfortable; chances are, if they don’t feel right when you put them on, they never will.
You may be pleasantly surprised at how much a better pair of shoes can impact your life, having said that sometimes certain structural abnormalities in the feet may require further assistance from over the counter or custom orthotics.
Regardless of your footwear, if your feet are consistently causing you grief, you should visit a professional. Remember, foot pain, no matter how severe, is not normal. Specialists can resolve and prevent it quickly and efficiently.
To read more about and potential heel problems, take a look at our other blog!